Seven Powerful Principles

Let's take a look at the seven key principles employed by most effective project communicators:

  1. Plan your communications Like every other aspect of managing projects, you want and need to plan your project communications. The goal of communications planning is to ensure that all the stakeholders involved in the project have the information they need, when they need it, to fulfill their responsibilities. The key factors that affect communications planning and the communication requirements for a project include the following:

    • Sponsoring organizational structure
    • Results of stakeholder analysis
    • Reporting relationships
    • Functional areas involved in the project
    • The number of people involved in the project
    • Physical location of the project stakeholder
    • Information needs of each stakeholder
    • Experience level of project team members
    • Availability of technology
    • Immediacy and frequency of information needs
    • Desired form of project communications
    • Expected length of the project
    • Organizational risk level of project
    • Expected "change" impact on end users
    • Organizational culture
    • Level of "external" communications needed
    • Procurement contracts
    • Any constraints advised by legal counsel


    In organizations with standard project reports, don't assume these meet the information needs of your individual stakeholders. Be willing to adjust to better their needs.


    After the specific communication requirements are determined for your project, make sure to do these two things:

    • Document this information in a project communications management plan.
    • Ensure that all formal project communications (and the work to produce them) is included in the WBS and project schedule.
  2. Remember the basics The three most powerful communication techniques are also the simplest. Why are these techniques powerful? They work and most people don't do them, so the contrast is very noticeable.

    • Make it a high priorityDon't shortcut project communications; show respect for stakeholders.
    • Use your mannersBe polite; show appreciation and gratitude.
    • Follow-throughIf you say you are going to do something, do it.
  3. Five Cs of Communication Keep the five Cs in mind when composing or delivering any project communication:

    • ClearState the subject; stay on subject; hold the receiver's hand through the message; use appropriate terms.
    • ConciseGet to the point; limit scope of the message.
    • CourteousBe polite; watch your tone.
    • ConsistentUse appropriate tone, medium for intended message; all message elements should support intended meaning.
    • CompellingGive them a reason to pay attention.
  4. Take responsibility for understanding This hits at the mindset you need for effective communications. Key points include

    • Invest the effort, patience, and determination to make sure you are clearly understood.
    • Employ effective listening skills to ensure you have clearly understood what the other person has intended.
    • Use the communication medium that is the best fit for the intended audience. Be flexible.
    • Tailor your communications content to best fit the information needs of each target audience (project team, customers, senior management, and/or personnel management).
    • Pay attention. Notice the feedback. If what you are doing is not working, be willing to adjust.
    • Don't assume understandingalways clarify, ask questions, verify. Focus on taking the other person's perspective in all communications.
  5. Build relationships Effective communicators know that the bridge between people is built upon trust, rapport, and personal connection. Be eager and willing to invest the time to build one-on-one relationships with your key stakeholders, especially early on the project. In addition, a relationship focus will help create an open and honest environment, which is better suited for dealing with natural project challenges.
  6. Be proactive Another key mindset and approach principle. Your enemies in project communications are surprise, doubt, and uncertainty. Per the communications plan, keep your targeted audiences informed on a consistent basis. Anticipate any additional information needs. Never leave stakeholders wondering or needing to call you first.
  7. People and politics go together Another name for this is "don't be naïve". Effective communicators demonstrate an understanding and savviness for the political nature of the project environment. They understand the political implications of any potential communication and make sure to look at it from other perspectives before delivering the intended message.

Part i. Project Management Jumpstart

Project Management Overview

The Project Manager

Essential Elements for any Successful Project

Part ii. Project Planning

Defining a Project

Planning a Project

Developing the Work Breakdown Structure

Estimating the Work

Developing the Project Schedule

Determining the Project Budget

Part iii. Project Control

Controlling a Project

Managing Project Changes

Managing Project Deliverables

Managing Project Issues

Managing Project Risks

Managing Project Quality

Part iv. Project Execution

Leading a Project

Managing Project Communications

Managing Expectations

Keys to Better Project Team Performance

Managing Differences

Managing Vendors

Ending a Project

Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
ISBN: 078973821X
Year: 2006
Pages: 169 © 2008-2020.
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